La Nación Correspondent Reports Attempted Shooting

March 3, 2006

Costa Rican journalist José Alberto Gatgens, a Caribbean zone correspondent for the daily La Nación, was the victim of an attempted shooting last week, but was uninjured.

“I don’t know if they were shooting at me or the tires of the car – I only know that they shot at us,” said the reporter, who said the incident occurred Feb. 20 while he was photographing a casino in the Caribbean slope town of Guápiles.

The photographs were part of a journalistic investigation of alleged irregularities in the awarding of operating licenses by the Municipality of Guápiles.

Gatgens was not injured, but filed a claim before the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) against the casino guard, suspected of shooting at him five times.

Gatgens, who was taking photos of the casino at the time of the shooting, said two of the shots hit the taxi in which he was traveling.

According to the journalist, the man accused of shooting at him was detained for a few hours and later set free.

“I hope the case goes to justice. I don’t think that an attempt against life can remain unpunished,” Gatgens said.

The Costa Rican Journalists’ Association and the international organization Reporters without Borders decried the incident.

The journalists’ association said it stood behind Gatgens against “an act that, in addition to interfering with the collection and divulgation of information, endangers the physical well-being of a colleague.”

Reporters without Borders, meanwhile, said it hoped that the person found responsible for the shooting would be prohibited from bearing arms.

 

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